Point Defiance Marina: a model of environmental stewardship

Point Defiance Marina

Whether you delight in seeing a visiting humpback whale flash its flukes or get a kick out of the sound of squealing seals, please give some credit to the Point Defiance Marina, where folks do their best to protect the water quality of Commencement Bay.

Since 2010, the Point Defiance Marina has earned 5-star Clean Marina status from the Tacoma- Pierce County Health Department. The marina closely regulates the use of hazardous substances at its facility and teaches others how to prevent contamination of Puget Sound.

For example, boaters who store their vessels at the marina are required to recycle or properly dispose of potentially harmful substances, equipment and materials. This includes used oil and oil filters, antifreeze, transmission fluid, paints, solvents, varnishes, batteries and dirty rags.

Boathouse rental agreements require that oil and fuel spills are immediately reported to the state and federal oil-spill hotlines. When cleaning boats, renters must prevent contaminants from dripping into the bay. To prevent problems, boaters are asked to use absorbent pads.

When fueling, boaters are asked to prevent accidents, and avoid topping off or overfilling tanks.

Additionally, renters must pick up and properly dispose of pet waste, and recycle used items such as newspapers, cardboard, aluminum, plastic and glass.

“The very fact that we include these best management practices in boat storage agreements is a key reason we merit Clean Marina classification,” said Scott Knox, Point Defiance Marina supervisor. “Everyone must be very careful about using hazardous waste, store it cautiously and dispose of it properly.”

All classes, events and programs offered by the marina incorporate the kind of “clean and green” principles that boathouse tenants are required to embrace. The marina works closely with Tacoma Public Schools and its Science and Math Institute or SAMI, housed in Point Defiance Park, to promote environmental stewardship and conservation. The marina also recruits volunteers who carry out monthly beach cleanups.

Also, several years ago, the marina joined with the Tacoma Yacht Club to promote recycling of monofilament fishing line, which is so sturdy it takes hundreds of years to break down.  When abandoned in marine waters, risks harm to all kinds of critters and may even entangle people who encounter it while swimming or diving.

Together, the marina and club manage fishing line recycling containers at locations including the marina, Les Davis Pier and Dash Point Pier.